Insured losses for the regions encompassing Europe, the Middle East and Africa accounted for around 21 percent of global insured losses in 2014. The most significant events included the severe convective outbreak (hail and windstorm Ela) that affected areas including Germany, France, Belgium and Austria. A frontal boundary crossing the area initiated severe thunderstorms and supercells. The thunderstorms inflicted damaging wind gusts and hail over a widespread area with reports of hail exceeding seven centimeters (2.8 inches) in diameter and isolated reports of hailstones as large as 12 centimeters (4.7 inches).(1) Estimated insured losses from this event were around USD2.8 billion.(2)
During the winter months, Western Europe suffered an unusual number of storms of moderate severity. The storms inflicted heavy surf, coastal flooding and strong winds from Ireland to Spain. In addition, France, Spain and the United Kingdom suffered significant coastal erosion and damage. Together with this coastal damage, the United Kingdom suffered widespread and persistent inland flooding. According to the UK Met Office, the unusual clustering and frequency of these storms left the highest December to January rainfall total since record keeping began in 1910.(3) Estimated insured losses for the United Kingdom alone were around USD1.8 billion.(4)
Other notable events included a flood affecting the French Riviera in January, spring floods in the Balkans and a November severe weather outbreak affecting France.
Man-made events of note included a refinery explosion and fire in the Krasnoyarsk territory of Russia and a militant attack on the Tripoli International Airport in Libya. Tragically, the summer also marked the loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 when it was shot down over the Ukraine in July.
1. AIR Worldwide, Alert Report, June 12, 2014.
2. Munich Re press release, January 7, 2015.
3. UK Met Office, “A global perspective on the recent storms and floods in the United Kingdom,” February 2014.
4. Association of British Insurers, March 13, 2014